Introduction. Improving the prognosis of breast cancer patients is of utmost importance in terms of increasing survival rates. Modern medicine has therefore prioritized better quality of life for patients, even after the disease, through a better management of the potential long-term side effects induced by anticancer treatments. Fertility preservation and family planning are therefore crucial issues to be addressed in all cancer patients of reproductive age. Along those lines, a new branch of medicine with distinct multidisciplinary characteristics has developed over the years: oncofertility. Although both national and international guidelines value reproductive counseling as an essential aspect of the diagnostic-therapeutic pathway, part and parcel of the informed consent process, it is not included within the protocols adopted by the operating units for the care and management of neoplastic diseases. Objective. This study aimed to evaluate the activity of the Breast Unit of the Policlinico Umberto I Hospital, Rome, Italy, and the degree of compliance with guidelines. By knowing the strengths and weaknesses of such approaches, the standards of care offered to breast cancer patients can be improved. Materials and methods. A retrospective study based on a review of medical records was conducted between 2014 and 2021. Patients under 40 years of age diagnosed with non-metastatic malignancies were included who received chemotherapy treatment, namely neoadjuvant, adjuvant or adjuvant hormone therapy. Results. The data were extracted from the medical records of 51 patients who met the inclusion criteria, 41% of whom received reproductive counseling, and of these, 43% decided to undertake a path of fertility preservation. Factors such as the absence of children and young age reportedly favored both the interest in counseling proposals by the medical staff and the decision to undertake a path of fertility preservation. Conclusions. The study shows that there has been growing interest in the topic of oncofertility, especially in light of law 219/2017. Therefore, since 2018, multiple proposals for reproductive counseling have been set forth, but there was not an equally growing demand for fertility preservation practices, which can be explained by the invasive nature of such practices, the patients’ concern about their own state of health, and poor or inadequate information. Such impediments highlight the importance of standardized counseling and the need for a multidisciplinary medical team to support the patient in the decision-making process. The study also revealed a drop in the number of patients receiving counseling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, contrary to the positive trend that was recorded prior to the pandemic.

Oncofertility and Reproductive Counseling in Patients with Breast Cancer: A Retrospective Study

Napoletano G.;Monti M.;Panarese A.;
2022

Abstract

Introduction. Improving the prognosis of breast cancer patients is of utmost importance in terms of increasing survival rates. Modern medicine has therefore prioritized better quality of life for patients, even after the disease, through a better management of the potential long-term side effects induced by anticancer treatments. Fertility preservation and family planning are therefore crucial issues to be addressed in all cancer patients of reproductive age. Along those lines, a new branch of medicine with distinct multidisciplinary characteristics has developed over the years: oncofertility. Although both national and international guidelines value reproductive counseling as an essential aspect of the diagnostic-therapeutic pathway, part and parcel of the informed consent process, it is not included within the protocols adopted by the operating units for the care and management of neoplastic diseases. Objective. This study aimed to evaluate the activity of the Breast Unit of the Policlinico Umberto I Hospital, Rome, Italy, and the degree of compliance with guidelines. By knowing the strengths and weaknesses of such approaches, the standards of care offered to breast cancer patients can be improved. Materials and methods. A retrospective study based on a review of medical records was conducted between 2014 and 2021. Patients under 40 years of age diagnosed with non-metastatic malignancies were included who received chemotherapy treatment, namely neoadjuvant, adjuvant or adjuvant hormone therapy. Results. The data were extracted from the medical records of 51 patients who met the inclusion criteria, 41% of whom received reproductive counseling, and of these, 43% decided to undertake a path of fertility preservation. Factors such as the absence of children and young age reportedly favored both the interest in counseling proposals by the medical staff and the decision to undertake a path of fertility preservation. Conclusions. The study shows that there has been growing interest in the topic of oncofertility, especially in light of law 219/2017. Therefore, since 2018, multiple proposals for reproductive counseling have been set forth, but there was not an equally growing demand for fertility preservation practices, which can be explained by the invasive nature of such practices, the patients’ concern about their own state of health, and poor or inadequate information. Such impediments highlight the importance of standardized counseling and the need for a multidisciplinary medical team to support the patient in the decision-making process. The study also revealed a drop in the number of patients receiving counseling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, contrary to the positive trend that was recorded prior to the pandemic.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11697/181553
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